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Perham adopts new program

The city of Perham now has an Adopt-A-Park program.

An initiative of the Parks and Recreation Board, the program was approved by the city council last week after more than two years of planning and research.

Organizations, businesses and individuals will be able to 'adopt' a park in town through this program, volunteering to keep them clean of litter, planting flowers and trees, weeding, replacing playground equipment, mowing and edging, or providing any number of other helpful services.

Those who adopt a park will be recognized with a sign at that park.

The program is designed to be a partnership between the city and community; it provides an opportunity for people to contribute in ways other than monetarily, and in the process it could spare the Public Works department some basic park maintenance work, resulting in a financial savings for the city.

"A lot of other cities with multiple parks have similar programs," said Eric Spencer, a city councilor and member of the Parks and Recreation Board. "We looked at other Adopt-A-Park programs... We did a lot of research, and what we came up with seems to be the best fit for Perham. It's been in the works for at least two years. It was time to take the next step."

Spencer said businesses are encouraged to adopt a park, and financial contributions are welcome; however, "that's not the main focus."

Instead, adoption would mean a contribution of time and other resources. Perham Rotarians, for example, recently volunteered as many as 10-13 hours a day to erecting a new playground set at Arvig Park, Spencer said: "They donated their time, and that definitely has value."

Though that effort was not associated with any Adopt-A-Park program, it's just the sort of thing that easily could be.

Other parks, such as Paul Miller, could use some occasional raking, and sticks need to be picked up before mowing can be done. Adoption groups would also be encouraged to help with some larger projects, such as working with the city to build new park structures.

"We're hoping this will give people a reason to have a little more pride in their parks," said Spencer, "while also raising awareness of the parks and getting people to visit them; stopping in to have a picnic."

Public Works employees would still routinely check in on the adopted parks, to make sure that things are being kept up and to finish any tasks that may still need to be done. If a park is not being maintained by its adoption group or individual, Spencer said, the city "would be the first to know."

He said a few groups in town have already expressed interest in adopting a park. Things are expected to continue to move forward, and Spencer said he's "hoping by this time next year that the parks will all have signs up and they'll all be adopted."

Anyone or any local organization, club or business interested in adopting one of the city's 11 parks, should email Eric Spencer at